EDITORIAL: Stop for school buses
With the start of a new school year, I want to encourage each and every one of you that will be driving on our roadways to pay attention to school buses that carry our precious cargo. We have a law that if a driver runs a school bus stop sign the minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus for first offense is $500 and second offense is $2,000. This includes losing six points on your driving record per violation.
This law is an effort to deter folks from passing stopped school buses yet far too many instances of school bus stop-arm violations are continuing to happen in our state. Folks, just one instance of a car passing a stopped school bus is one instance too many. These continued violations are putting far too many of our children in danger. The stop-arm is there to keep drivers from passing by a stopped bus so that our children can safely get on and off the bus.
Please remember that yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. When you are driving and see these yellow flashing lights you should slow down and prepare to stop your vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop-arm indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off.
If you are driving on any highway that has only two-travel lanes, one in each direction, you must stop for the bus whether approaching from the front or overtaking from the rear. In these instances you must remain stopped and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.
If you are driving on multi-lane roadways, which have at least two lanes of travel in each direction, you must stop for the bus if overtaking the bus from the rear and remain stopped until the lights are no longer activated or the bus resumes motion. However if you are approaching a bus from the front, on this type of multi-lane roadway you do not need to stop for the school bus. You can proceed with caution.
If you are on our roads and see a bus, please pay attention to its flashing lights and if the stop-arm is extended. Do not put our children in any unnecessary danger.
It is an honor to serve you in Columbia.
Sen. Kent Williams represents District 30, which includes parts of Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties. Contact him at